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NEWS FLASH: Northeast Braces for Winter Weather, Flight Disrutptions

A winter storm expected to hit the Northeast over the weekend will likely cause flight disruptions throughout the region, according to reports issued Friday. Several states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont are likely to get hit.

Passengers with plans to travel to, from, or through destinations impacted by the storm are advised to check the status of their flight before leaving their home and to prepare for delays at the airport. Dress comfortably, bring a fully charged cell phone, and have access to the phone number of an airport hotel should you experience overnight delays. As always, Travelocity customers should visit the Customer Care page for information on receiving assitance with their travel plans.

Airlines have begun issuing waivers for customers who wish to postpone thier travel. See below for a list of airlines that have instituted flexible travel policies. Visit your carrier’s web site for details and restrictions.
United Airlines
US Airways

How to Attend the Political Conventions

Whether your mama is voting for Obama, you think Hillary has more verbal artillery left in her, or you’re catching a ride on the Straight Talk Express, there’s no denying that this is one of the most exhilarating elections in recent memory.

Like many of you, I’m hanging on every poll, obsessively reading CNN, and toying with the idea of getting more involved. The national conventions for both major parties offer excellent opportunities to observe the election process up close and explore a little of the heartland. Here’s the scoop on how to get in on the action.

Coconuts and Bolts: Start of an Airborne Green Revolution?

This past weekend, Virgin flew a 747 from Heathrow in London, to Schiphol in Amsterdam. Of course, this wouldn’t normally be such a big deal, except it was on time. No, I’m kidding. What was of note on this particular flight was that one of the four engines was powered by a mix of jet fuel and coconut and babassu palm oil. The idea, of course, was to test out using biofuel in the sky to try to cut back on what is an increasingly noted issue of air travel pollution. What is also noteworthy here is that, by using a biofuel that is not from a staple crop—like corn, we can avoid using both food supplies and some other crucial crops

NEWS FLASH: US AIRWAYS TO CHARGE $25 FOR SECOND BAG

The Associated Press (via USA Today) reports that US Airways announced Tuesday they would begin charging travelers $25 to check a second piece of luggage. This follows a near-identical move by United Airlines earlier this month. Southwest Airlines began charging customers $25 to charge a third bag in late January.

The additional charges come at a time when airlines are struggling to turn a profit. On Tuesday, the price of oil again topped $100 a barrel. The price of oil is closely tied to that of jet fuel.

The new charge will be effective immediately for tickets purchased starting Wednesday, March 27 for travel on or after May 5.

US Airways already charged customers who checked between two and nine bags $80 per extra bag, and they are now boosting that charge to $100.

Hang-Gliding Lessons

I think it was the fact that I’d already spent so much time above the clouds in Rio de Janeiro, from gawking at the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado to watching the sun set from Pão de Açúcar’s peak, that led me to decide that I just couldn’t leave the city without hang-gliding from Pedro Bonita. Whether I was high on bird’s-eye beauty or just suffering from altitude-induced delirium, I’m not sure. Either way, on my last morning in town, I found myself running at full speed off a ramp in tandem with a hang-gliding instructor I’d met 10 minutes before. This was about 45 minutes after paying $10 for my “pilot’s license” and 5 minutes after practicing my liftoff run (one time).